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Week 16 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 17, Miami Dolphins 7
What you need to know
The Jaguars keep are cycling between two awful quarterbacks. There seems to be no plan right now other than sending a message that you can be benched for poor performance. The Jaguars were able to run the ball, albeit inefficiently overall. The passing game remains a wreck. The defense bailed the team out for a defensive score for a win that served no purpose and will ultimately hurt the team.
The Dolphins still had a very outside chance of winning the division or making the playoffs. In every scenario, they needed to win this week and get help all around the league otherwise. Unfortunately, they played one of their worst offensive games of the season and could not make that happen. The game started well with each team exchanging touchdowns on their first drives, but then the wheels fell off and Miami was never able to get going again. They punted 6 times, missed a field goal, lost a fumble, and threw an interception returned for a touchdown to close out the game and did not score any points. Tannehill was sacked 3 times for a loss of 25 yards and looked scared in the back field. The Dolphins have lived and died by the big play on offense and could not come up with any this week. The defense played well against a very poor Jacksonville offense, but they were not able to overcome the offensive woes. The Dolphins will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills in week 17. They still have a chance to finish the season 8-8, but they are done in regard to the playoff picture.
|QB Cody Kessler, 44 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 17 - 106 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
started the game for the Jaguars. The Jaguars did score a touchdown on their opening drive (a short Fournette run), which was bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty. After some extremely poor play, he existed the game in the second quarter and replaced by Bortles. Kessler was cleared to come back in, but remained on the bench for performance reasons.
|QB Blake Bortles, 23 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 6 - 39 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 25 - 0|
Bortles came in to relieve an injured Kessler and proceeded to play the entire game. He will apparently start in Week 17 as well, despite leading the offense to a total of three points over three quarters against Miami. The coaching staff has said he will start the season finale against Houston.
|RB Leonard Fournette, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 43 - 1, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)|
Fournette salvaged his day with a short touchdown on the first drive, but was otherwise extremely ineffective. 3 catches for 28 yards looks decent on the statline, but he had one horrible drop. The team has also begun recently leaking that Fournette is ten pounds heavier than he was to begin the season. Fournette's second season has been an incredible disappointment - battles with injuries, a suspension for fighting, weight gain, and being vastly outplayed this year by TJ Yeldon. At this point, it wouldn't be the worst idea for the team to explore trade options. Yeldon will depart via free agency and Carlos Hyde
will likely be a salary cap casualty, so the team will likely bring him back due to a lack of other veteran options on the roster. He should definitely be challenged by adding another young back in the spring. Fournette cannot be counted on going forward, both from an injury and performance standpoint.
Hyde was a more efficient player than Fournette in this game. He's noticeably smaller and less powerful, but does more with less and doesn't need the clear run-throughs that Fournette does. As is stands, he will likely be a salary cap casualty this offseason.
Yeldon was a healthy scratch in this game. It's insulting from the standpoint that he has been their best offensive player this season - and it hasn't been particularly close. It's a positive overall for Yeldon, though. He will enter the free agency period healthy and with less wear and tear sustained from a lost, useless season. He will be a great, cheap veteran addition for a team this offseason.
|WR Dede Westbrook, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 7 - 45 - 0 (8 targets)|
Westbrook has been the one semi-reliable receiving option this season. As it stands, he is the best player in a terrible wide receiving group. The team cannot get him the ball reliably even in the short passing game. He's arguably already a better, more explosive version of what they get from Marqise Lee
, so it will be interesting to see how the team distributes playing time between the two going forward. There's a redundancy issue in play. Westbrook more than any player would benefit from better quarterback play. Long term, however, he cannot be relied on to be the best wide receiver in a passing game.
Moncrief had his usual game for the Jaguars - a few drags and crosser for YAC. Since he is on a one-year contract he will likely not figure into the Jaguars' long term plans.
|QB Ryan Tannehill, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 22 - 146 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0|
It was not a great game for Tannehill this week. After stepping up against the Patriots, Tannehill fell flat against the Vikings and Jaguars. He managed to throw a touchdown this week after getting shut out last week but was largely ineffective after that. It was a 4-yard shovel pass to Bolden up the middle for the teams only touchdown this week. It was really a glorified handoff for the touchdown, but it counts as a passing attempt. His interception was a poor decision on his part. After the play-action, he was hit in the back field and did not have a chance to go through his progression. Tannehill rushed the ball in the direction of Ballage in the flat and the route was jumped by the defender and returned for an easy touchdown. He would have been better off just throwing the ball away after the play broke down. He was slightly more effective in the running game with 22 yards and a long 12-yard run for a first down. His longest passes came on a 31-yard screen to Ballage and a 20-yard deep throw down the sideline to Amendola. It was not a great offensive showing for Tannehill or the Dolphins this week. He will have one more shot next week to try and prove that he is the quarterback of the future for this team.
|RB Kenyan Drake, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 23 - 0, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (5 targets)|
The strength of the Jacksonville defense continues to be the rush defense, and that hurt any chance of Drake having a big game. He received only 6 carries and broke a single run for 9 yards as his longest play on the ground. The rushing attack only managed 18 total carries and 62 yards combined. It was not a great showing for a team that clearly missed Gore out of the back field. Drake had more carries than any other back and barely edged out his quarterback for total rushing yards. He also caught 4 of his 5 targets. He led the team in targets and receptions this week and trailed Amendola by only 9 yards for the lead through the air. 54 total yards is not a great game, but that is how it has gone for Drake. Even with Gore out due to injury, Drake has not fully taken over out of the back field. He has one more chance to show that he can be the lead back next week against Buffalo.
|RB Kalen Ballage, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (4 targets)|
Like Bolden, Ballage only really had a single play that made a huge difference on offense. He had 4 carries and racked up 6 of his 10 yards on a single play. His big play came on a 31-yard screen play down the sideline. Ballage was targeted 4 times in the passaging game and caught half of those. He is trying to establish himself in a suddenly crowded Miami back field. After losing Gore, everyone else is fighting to pick up those carries and establish themselves in the offense. Ballage looks to be behind Drake and Bolden on the depth chart but may move up after his big reception and the fumble by Bolden. The winner could serve as the backup to Drake next season if the Dolphins do not bring back Gore.
|RB Brandon Bolden, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 1 (1 targets)|
It was not a great all-around game for Bolden, but he did account for the only meaningful play on offense for the Dolphins. He had 4 carries and 7 of his 9 yards came on a single rush. He was not very effective on the ground, but neither was anyone else. His important play came on a 4-yard shovel pass that he took into the end zone for a touchdown. Bolden took the pass a ran down the back side of the offensive line before finding a hole to dart through for the score. He did not have another target in the passing game and had about the same success on the ground as everyone else for the Dolphins. Bolden also lost a fumble this week and then was not trusted with the ball after that. It has been a rough stretch for Bolden since his break out against the Patriots.
The up and down season for Gore came to an end last week after he suffered a foot injury. He is lucky to have avoided surgery and is eying a return for 2019. Gore was the most effective back for the Dolphins this season and his loss was a huge blow to the offense.
|WR Danny Amendola, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (3 targets)|
It has been a rough season for Amendola with Tannehill under center and it continued again this week. He caught all 3 of his targets and led the team in receiving. His biggest play came on a 20-yard deep route down the sideline. It accounted for half of his yards and was one of the few shots they took down the field. Amendola played much better with Osweiler under center, even with several other healthy receivers as competition. The signing of Amendola has not paid off for the Dolphins this season and they are going to have to rework what they are doing offensively to get him more involved.
Similar to Stills, Parker only has 2 games this season where he has played well. There should have been a lot of extra targets to go around with the injuries all around the receiving core, but Parker has not stepped up and taken any of them. He caught 2 of his 3 targets this week and did not top 15 total yards. Parker is a former first round talent that has not lived up to his potential in Miami. The trade rumors swirl every year around the deadline and there is a good chance he is not in a Miami uniform next season.
|WR Kenny Stills, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)|
Another disappointing game for Stills as the season winds down. He caught 1 of his 2 targets for 5 yards and has not played a big role in the offense for quite some time. Despite losing 2 of their wide receivers to injury for the season, Stills has not stepped up and filled the void. HE has 2 good games this season and the rest have been duds. If they revamp the offense in the off season, Stills may be the odd man out with the way that he has played.